“ Brand: Hanbury Vale / Type: Meat „
Hanbury Vale Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast Fillets are a frozen poultry product, currently available on half-price special offer at Tesco for £2.99 (as of Feb 2010) for a bag of 600g - which roughly - and I use the term 'roughly' advisedly - equates to six pieces of frozen chicken breast. The full selling price for the bag would presumably be just under £6.
Like most frozen convenience chicken products of this type, the Hanbury Vale chicken breast bits (and I use the term 'bits' for a reason) have some water-based glaze added to them, presumably to protect the chicken meat from 'freezer burn' (ie drying out and going white on the surface) during storage. This glaze contains some salt and dextrose (ie sugar) so it's nothing awful, but its presence does mean the chicken fillets seep pink fluid a bit once they start to defrost; the plastic bag they come (loose) in is quite heavy-duty, but not reliable enough to be leak-proof. Unlike some other similar brands of frozen chicken breast I've tried, the glaze added to the Hanbury Vale chicken doesn't seem to be excessively salty, which is a definite plus point.
How these chicken breast fillets DON'T compare with their market competitors however is in their size and general appearance. I was quite shocked when I opened the first bag of them (it was opaque in the shop) that I bought. What you get are smallish chunks or wedges of chicken - quasi-chicken-breast-shaped admittedly, but honestly, apart from being filleted meat in the 'it's been taken off the bone' sense, I'd say they barely qualify as being fillets of anything at all. They look like they've been hacked off the original chicken at random; they look like a dog's dinner, quite frankly. None of the ones in the first bag of seven I got were more than about four inches long - which is pretty small for a chicken breast by anybody's standards. I've bought a second bag since, and they're like that too. You could argue that perhaps the fillets were small because they came from young birds, but they were fully as thick at one end as you'd expect (actually, quite a bit thicker, because I usually buy free-range chickens and they tend to be a bit leaner) a regular chicken fillet to be. They'd just been detached from the chickens with no attention to detail, that's all.
They tasted fine cut into chunks and made into pie, and the texture was good and 'chickeny' too, but if you wanted say, a chicken breast to serve whole in your finished dish, these are far too small and the shape is too irregular for them to be acceptable. Of course I'm ashamed when I buy this kind of thing because it comes from low-welfare-standard birds - not even necessarily British ones in this case - but at that price, and they're so blinkin' convenient to cook with, that's my problem.
This is a good, convenient product, but I've removed one star from what would otherwise be a four star review for the 'hacked into' appearance of the 'fillets'.